What is Bleaching? (Teeth whitening)
Every person has a specific color of their teeth just as they have skin or eye color. The color of teeth differs according to race, age and geographical location. For example, people with African ethnicity have the whitest teeth whereas Caucasians have yellower tone of teeth. After bleaching, the natural color of teeth gets about a couple of shades whitened. Bleaching is different from the removal of stains on teeth at the end of gum treatment (polyture). Stains stuck on teeth from tea, cigarettes etc are removed with polyture procedure whereas in Bleaching, about a couple shades of whitening is gained following the polyture procedure.
Two methods are used in today's dentistry. Named Home-Bleaching and Office-Bleaching, these methods can also be applied together in cases of resilient stains. (tetracycline stains)
In this method, patients apply the treatment themselves. The treatment period lasts about 7 to 14 days. It has to be applied over the course of 6 to 8 hours everyday. Thanks to the change of concentration in the chemicals used in recent years, it has become possible to achieve results with even 2 to 3 hour applications. Patient’s oral impression is taken and a whitening tray is prepared accordingly. The patient fills the tray with whitening gel and wears them (preferably) before going to bed.
In this method, the dental professional applies the treatment in the clinic. The procedure takes about an hour. The gel is activated with high-power light, heat or laser. The treatments' effectiveness is directly proportional with light and heat. This method can be used on smoking patients, however, refraining from smoking and any other type of staining matter is highly recommended at least for the next 48 hours.
Home + Office Whitening
In this method, the patient receives Home-Bleaching, followed by Office-Bleaching to complete the treatment. This method is used to achieve results where the teeth color is dark and resilient.
Whitening on Teeth after Root Canal Treatment
After root canal treatment, teeth can sometimes change color. The most prominent cause of this color change is due to the blood clotting in dentin tubules or canal filling material causing color change on teeth. Crown whitening (intracoronal bleaching) method involves whitening of the substances inside the dentin tubules and makes it possible for the tooth to go back to its natural color. Because of the fact that, the root of the tooth is protected before the bleaching treatment begins, this will cause no harm for the previous root canal therapy.
Is Bleaching Harmful for the Teeth?
The substances used in bleaching are different types of peroxide. Components such as sodium peroxide, hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are the most frequently used types of peroxide and it is clinically proven that these chemicals are not harmful to the structure of your teeth.
The difference of Home-Bleaching methods from Office-Bleaching is the lower concentration of whitening agents in the whitening products. Home-Bleaching whitening agents include gels that has varying degrees of carbamide peroxide (10-22%), which are almost as effective as gels with 3% hydrogen peroxide concentration. However, teeth whitening products which are applied in the clinic by a dental professional have a concentration value between 25% to 35%.
In the home-bleaching method, whitening trays prepared exclusively for the patient are used. Patients fill the whitening tray with the gel and do the application themselves.
The dentist must talk to the patient about their history. It is absolutely necessary to determine the cause of discolorization or staining on the teeth. According to the examination, the decision whether the patient's teeth is appropriate for whitening should be made and, if applicable, a proper whitening method and agent has to be chosen accordingly.
Who is Suitable for Teeth Whitening?
The whitening procedure is not recommended for ages under 16. In this period of age, Pulp chamber and the nerve of the teeth are at their widest dimensions. For pregnant women, people with whitening agent peroxide allergy and extremely sensitive teeth, it is not appropriate to undergo the procedure. Smoking patients should be warned for cutting down or quitting their habit altogether in order to achieve better results with the treatment.